I've been contemplating recently what it means to be a woman.
Specifically, a woman who is a follower of Christ.
Scripture talks about women having "a gentle and quiet spirit".
Many of us read this and our hackles go up.
We fear that "gentle" means "weak".
But I'm quite sure that it doesn't.
Gentleness is spiritual fruit.
Spiritual fruit comes straight from the Spirit of God. It is His character being fleshed out in our lives.
Therefore, God is gentle.
And God is not weak.
So, gentleness and weakness are not synonymous.
I believe it's actually the opposite.
Gentleness is the height of strength.
It is a characteristic of Christ, and not counteractive of leadership and confidence.
True gentleness is a rarely found mix of fortitude and nurture.
It's a choice to acknowledge your power, but to make that power submissive to your love.
There is a beautiful courage in the gentle spirit.
Imagine something known to be strong. Like wildfire. It possesses power and strength. But it lacks control. There is no gentleness.
Now picture a tame horse. Think of how this powerful beast allows her handler to lead her, discipline her, direct her. Consider her gentleness with riders and the delicate manner in which she takes an apple from the hand of a child. Is it because she's weak? Not at all! A horse is strong, her presence commanding and her power potentially intimidating. She knows her strength. And she chooses gentleness.
Acknowledging your power to harm or heal is a choice.
Awareness of your actions and responsibilities is a choice.
Doing your very best to be gentle is a choice.
But ultimately, true godly gentleness isn't yours to choose or achieve.
Gentleness is not inherent to my human heart.
But it is inherent to the Spirit living in me.
My inclination is to exert my power and will.
His invitation is to give me the gift of living in His power and will.
Gentleness is one of my weaknesses.
A place in my heart where Christ in me makes all the difference.
- How have you defined gentleness? As a weakness or as a strength?
- What do you believe about the Spirit of God? Does allowing the Spirit to be strong in your weakness make you feel weaker or stronger?
- And the big question, HOW do we let God produce spiritual fruit in us and what role does our own will and choice play in it?